- Mobile ad company Kargo this week announced plans to buy Rhombus, an ad tech company that focuses on embedding social content within brand-safe articles on publishers' websites, per a press release. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
- Heineken and Allergan are among the brands that use Rhombus' cookieless targeting technology, called Social Canvas, to place ads next to a social embed within articles. Kargo plans to integrate Social Canvas into its sell-side platform (SSP), letting advertisers and publishers buy and sell unique ad placements.
- Social Canvas lets brands advertise among content categories that include entertainment, health and wellness, sports and news, among others. Advertisers can target audiences based on accounts, emoji, hashtags and keywords connected to celebrities, influencers and events.
Social media posts embedded in the editorial content of publishers' website are often eye-catching, giving mobile marketers a way to grab the attention of audiences by placing ads next to them. By acquiring Rhombus, Kargo can extend its SSP to offer that ad inventory in a brand-safe environment that appeals to marketers while giving publishers another way to generate ad revenue. The number of articles that include social embeds has doubled in the past three years, and 38% of all article pages now have at least one embed such as a video, tweet or post, Rhombus' internal data shows.
After Kargo integrates Rhombus' Social Canvas with its platform, marketers can buy ad placements next to social embeds programmatically. Kargo's platform is integrated with demand-side platforms (DSPs) such as Google's DV360, WarnerMedia's Xandr, MediaMath and The Trade Desk. Rhombus offers social embed targeting among 19 major social platforms, but its ad inventory hadn't been connected to a programmatic platform, AdExchanger reported.
With more advertisers shifting to programmatic buying for its efficiency, that social embed inventory is likely to find growing demand among mobile marketers. With the growth in mobile, video and direct media buys, programmatic advertising will increase to 88% of all U.S. digital display ad spend by 2022 from 85% this year, eMarketer forecast. The researcher estimated the programmatic ad market, including mobile, will expand 6.2% to $63.3 billion this year, and by 26% to $79.6 billion in 2021 as demand recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
Kargo's acquisition of Rhombus follows its past efforts to improve brand safety for marketers, which has become more important to advertisers amid concerns about transparency and toxic content on social media platforms. Kargo in March introduced brand safety features to help marketers avoid placing ads next to articles about the coronavirus pandemic. Kargo let advertisers change their site lists to limit ads running on hard news publishers or to focus on safer verticals such as food, lifestyle, entertainment and sports. The company also helped marketers cut exposure to "anxiously-charged" material pinpointed by its sentiment targeting technology.